Delivering the DofE: FAQs for DofE adults

We recognise that this is a worrying time and you may be concerned about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect your participants’ DofE.

The health of everyone involved with the DofE is the most important thing to us and parents and LOs should feel comfortable taking their own measures at this time.

We will make sure that we use all the flexibility inherent in the DofE programme so young people can continue doing their programmes and have the opportunity to achieve their Awards.

What advice is the DofE giving about coronavirus?

This is a difficult and unsettling time for everyone. The health of everyone involved in the DofE is the most important thing to us and must be the primary consideration of the DofE network.

There will inevitably be significant disruption to planned DofE activities in coming weeks and months. We are determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus.

We will make sure that we use all the flexibility inherent in the DofE programme so young people can continue doing their programmes, and have the opportunity to achieve their Awards, and will be sharing ideas about how participants can continue their programme at this time.

Is the DofE charity still working as normal?

Yes, very much so. Of course, we’re having to quickly adapt how we do some things in order to reflect the rapidly developing situation. But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus.

Our staff will continue to support Licensed Organisations, Approved Activity Providers and other partners to carry on delivering the programme in a different way over coming weeks and months. Our Operations Officers will be contacting all DofE Managers to talk about how we can help them to support participants at this difficult time.

One of my participants (or their parent / carer) is particularly concerned about doing their DofE activities as they’re worried they’ll get the virus. What should I tell them?

Everyone needs to follow Government advice with regard to managing the spread of the virus and their own health. The Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) webpage is frequently updated as things develop, so please check it regularly. The NHS advice is also frequently updated.

There are lots of way in which participants can carry on with their DofE programmes while at home – click here for more details.

Should I cancel or postpone upcoming activities, like group meetings, expeditions or residentials?

Our expectation is that all Licensed Organisations (LOs) and Approved Activity Providers (AAPs) will be following the latest government advice during the coronavirus pandemic.

On 23 March, the UK Government issued advice which requires individuals to stay at home except in very limited circumstances and bans all gatherings of more than two people in public. This means that no DofE expeditions or residentials should be taking place until this advice changes.

Remember, DofE expeditions can be run throughout the year, not just in the traditional ‘expedition season’. The DofE charity will be working with LOs and AAPs to find ways in which participants can undertake their planned expeditions later this year and in 2021.

Group meetings can continue to take place virtually. Lots of Leaders are putting steps in place to help their participants to carry on doing their DofE programmes remotely and are organising group meetings online.

There are lots of way in which participants can carry on with other activities which can count towards their DofE programmes while at home – click here for more details.

Should LOs plan to deliver DofE expeditions later this year?

It’s impossible to know how long the coronavirus pandemic will go on for and the safety of everyone involved in DofE is our paramount concern. Our advice to LOs and AAPs is that, wherever possible, they should plan to run expeditions later in the summer or early autumn. Of course, as the situation evolves in coming weeks, we’ll be reviewing this guidance and LOs and AAPs should adopt the same flexible approach.

Will the DofE charity be doing anything to help organisations who may have to run lots of expeditions later this year?

At the moment, it’s hard to know exactly what the situation will be later this year, although we very much hope that participants whose expeditions have been cancelled will be able to undertake them later in the summer or in early autumn.

We’re considering various ways in which we can help organisations to do this and will keep planning as the situation evolves.

Some Gold participants are unlikely to be able to do their practice expedition due to the coronavirus outbreak. Can they just do their qualifying expedition and still achieve their Award?

At Gold and Silver levels, practice expeditions are an important part of the preparation and training participants carry out to ensure that they can undertake a safe and enjoyable remotely supervised expedition. For that reason, all Gold and Silver participants will still have to do both a practice and qualifying expedition.

But we’re determined that no young person should miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We’ll be working with all of our LOs and AAPs to help participants who find themselves in this situation to go on to achieve their Award and we’ll be sharing more news on this in the next few weeks as the medium-term situation becomes clearer.

What happens if I’m ill and I can’t lead my DofE group remotely?

Your health is the most important thing and you must make sure that you follow all of the advice being issued by the Government.

As a DofE Leader, you’ll be aware of what plans your Licensed Organisation has in place to deal with your absence – inform your LO so that these plans can be actioned.

 

Some participants want to change their activities to ones they can do on their own / at home. Is this ok?

Yes, this is fine. DofE programmes allow young people to change from one activity to another at any point. In these unique circumstances, it’s likely that many participants will choose to do this, and we’re sharing ideas on how young people can safely carry on with elements of their DofE programme here.

Participants will need to seek approval from their Leader before starting their new activities.

Some of the other organisations my participants are involved with for their DofE activities (i.e. charities they’re volunteering with) are stopping their activity as part of their coronavirus response. What can they do instead to make sure they achieve their Award?

We’re sharing activities that participants can do from home here. If there are ideas that are working particularly well for participants in your community, please do share them with your DofE Operations Officer and via social media using the hashtag #DofEwithadifference.

Do you have any suggestions for activities young people can do on their own / remotely?

Yes. We’re sharing activity ideas here. If there are ideas that are working particularly well for participants in your community, please do share them with your DofE Operations Officer and via social media using the hashtag #DofEwithadifference.

Some participants won’t be able to complete their DofE in the school year due to coronavirus. And, when they leave school this summer, they won’t have access to another DofE centre to finish and achieve their Award. Any advice for them?

We’re determined that no young person should miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of coronavirus. We will make sure that we use all the flexibility inherent in the DofE programme so young people can continue doing their programmes and have the opportunity to achieve their Awards.

We’ll be working with all of our LOs and AAPs to help participants who find themselves in this situation to go on to achieve their Award and we’ll be sharing more news on this in the next few weeks as the medium-term situation becomes clearer.

One of my participants is turning 25 soon and is concerned they won’t complete their programme in time because of the outbreak. Can they be given an extension?

Yes. Under existing DofE rules, participants can be granted a period of time in which to complete their DofE after their 25th birthday if they need it because of illness or other circumstances. Leaders should feel empowered to grant such extensions to participants affected by coronavirus immediately and can get an extension granted in eDofE by contacting the relevant DofE Region or Country Office.

If one of my participants is diagnosed with the coronavirus after taking part in a DofE activity, should I tell the DofE?

No, there is no need to notify the DofE should a participant be diagnosed with coronavirus. However, tell your Licensed Organisation so that appropriate steps can be put in place to manage the situation.

Can I still purchase Welcome Packs and allocate the accompanying participation places as usual?

Yes, you can still buy Welcome Packs in eDofE and will be able to allocate the accompanying participation places to young people as always.

Welcome Packs are still being despatched every two weeks to participants who enter their personal details on eDofE for the first time, or start a new Award level. This will continue for as long as our printers are able to keep their premises open.

As ever, digital copies of Welcome Pack contents are available for download. Young people and Leaders can also download their Digital DofE Card from eDofE or the DofE app.

A participant in my group has chosen or changed to an activity that they would like to do for one day a month, rather than one hour a week. Is this allowed?

Although activities for all levels are normally done for one hour per week (and in the current circumstances this may help with establishing routine), there are some activities which better completed by doing them for a longer time per session, but less often. This could be one day a month, or a couple of hours per week.

The activity must still be spread across the number of months the participant has chosen to spend on that section, and the hours must be at least the same as doing it weekly (or more!)

For example, with prior agreement from their DofE Leader, a participant doing a six month Volunteering section for Silver starting in April 2020 could request to do a minimum of a day each month (at least four to six hours) until their earliest completion date – which in this case would be October 2020.

If I have DofE participants in my school who are due to leave this summer, can they still complete their expedition with us next year?

In order to enable current participants to complete their Expedition section (and their Award), you might like to consider running expeditions in the autumn that include pupils who were in Years 11 or 13 but have since left the school. Before you did, you would need to check the following;

– Confirm with your Head Teacher / Licence signatory (if DLC) or DofE Manager and Licence Signatory (if OA) that young people no longer on the school roll would be covered by your insurance provider for DofE expeditions.

– Confirm with your Head Teacher / Licence signatory (if DLC) or DofE Manager and Licence Signatory (if OA) that there are no implications around safeguarding for your organisation if young people not on roll are integrated with those remaining on roll.

– That a fair process is in place ensuring that they would access the expedition under the same terms as your current participants.

– Your licence requests that you have the permission from the Region/Country Director. The DofE would support this variation to your licence but we would ask that you notify the Regional/Country Office in advance for our records. Be aware that this would only apply to pupils who used to be on your school roll. You couldn’t include pupils from another school/college.